econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 19 February 2016

Sugar May Be As Damaging To The Brain As Extreme Stress Or Abuse

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Jayanthi Maniam and Margaret Morris, University of New South Wales Australia

We all know that cola and lemonade aren't great for our waistline or our dental health, but our new study on rats has shed light on just how much damage sugary drinks can also do to our brain.

The changes we observed to the region of the brain that controls emotional behaviour and cognitive function were more extensive than those caused by extreme early life stress.

It is known that adverse experiences early in life, such as extreme stress or abuse, increase the risk of poor mental health and psychiatric disorders later in life.

The number of traumatic events (accidents; witnessing an injury; bereavement; natural disasters; physical, sexual and emotional abuse; domestic violence and being a victim of crime) a child is exposed to is associated with elevated concentrations of the major stress hormone, cortisol.

There is also evidence that childhood maltreatment is associated with reduced brain volume and that these changes may be linked to anxiety.

What we found

Looking at rats, we examined whether the impact of early life stress on the brain was exacerbated by drinking high volumes of sugary drinks after weaning. As females are more likely to experience adverse life events, we studied female Sprague-Dawley rats.

To model early life trauma or abuse, after rats were born half of the litters were exposed to limited nesting material from days two to nine after birth. They then returned to normal bedding until they were weaned. The limited nesting alters maternal behaviour and increases anxiety in the offspring later in life.

Sugar could be more damaging to the brain than trauma. www.shutterstock.com

At weaning, half the rats were given unlimited to access to low-fat chow and water to drink, while their sisters were given chow, water and a 25% sugar solution that they could choose to drink. Animals exposed to early life stress were smaller at weaning, but this difference disappeared over time. Rats consuming sugar in both groups (control and stress) ate more calories over the experiment.

The rats were followed until they were 15 weeks old, and then their brains were examined. As we know that early life stress can impact mental health and function, we examined a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is important for both memory and stress. Four groups of rats were studied - control (no stress), control rats drinking sugar, rats exposed to stress, and rats exposed to stress who drank sugar.

We found that chronic consumption of sugar in rats who were not stressed produced similar changes in the hippocampus as seen in the rats who were stressed but not drinking sugar. Early life stress exposure or sugar drinking led to lower expression of the receptor that binds the major stress hormone cortisol, which may affect the ability to recover from exposure to a stressful situation.

Another gene that is important for the growth of nerves, Neurod1, was also reduced by both sugar and stress. Other genes important for the growth of nerves were investigated, and just drinking sugar from a young age was sufficient to reduce them.

The rats were exposed to high sugar intakes during development, and the impact of the sugar is worrying as it may affect brain development, although further work is required to test this.

In this study, combining sugar intake and early life stress did not produce further changes in the hippocampus, but whether this remains the case over time is unclear.

What does this mean for us?

The changes in the brain induced by sugar are of great concern given the high consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, with particularly high consumption in children aged nine to 16 years. If similar processes are at play in humans to what was found in our rat study, reducing the consumption of sugar across the community is important.

The fact that drinking sugar or exposure to early life stress reduced the expression of genes critical for brain development and growth is of great concern. While it is impossible to perform such studies in humans, the brain circuits controlling stress responses and feeding are conserved across species.

People who were exposed to early life trauma have changes in the structure of their hippocampus. In humans, those consuming the most "western" diet had smaller hippocampal volumes, in line with data from animal models.

Taken together, these findings suggest future work should consider possible long-term effects of high sugar intake, particularly early in life, on the brain and behaviour.

The ConversationJayanthi Maniam, Research Associate, UNSW Australia and Margaret Morris, Professor of Pharmacology, Head of Pharmacology, UNSW Australia

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.



You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.





Econintersect Contributors


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
The Expected Effects of Petitions to Improve the Monetary System
Energy and Falling Productivity
News Blog
The Dominant Forces In The U.S. Gun Market
69 Percent Of Americans Have Less Than One Thousand Dollars In Savings
Average Gasoline Prices for Week Ending 26 September 2016 Unchanged
Genetic Studies Reveal Diversity Of Early Human Populations - And Pin Down When We Left Africa
Earnings And Economic Reports: Week Starting 26 September 2016
TV Matches Aren't All That Important And Trump's Less Trusted
What We Read Today 26 September 2016
Why Mosquitoes Bite Some People
September 2016 Texas Manufacturing Survey Improves Further Into Expansion.
August 2016 New Home Sales Decline On Lower Median Sales Prices.
U.S. Real Wage Growth: Fast Out Of The Starting Blocks - Part 1 Of 2
Who Works More Hours Per Week: Rich Or Poor Countries?
Infographic Of The Day: How The World's Most Iconic Logos Evolve Over Time
Investing Blog
Monday Morning Call 26 September
We're Back Here We Started
Opinion Blog
Housing Inflation- A Simple Case Of Supply And Demand Exacerbated By Low Rates
Heading For A Fall? With Summer Over, Europe Must Face Up To Its Mounting Crises
Precious Metals Blog
War On Cash Turns To $20, $50, And $100 Bills
Live Markets
26Sep2016 Market Close: Wall Street Remained Down Ahead Of Tonight's Presidential Debate And OPEC's Meeting Later This Week, WTI Crude Falls Back To The 45 Handle, Gold Also Falls Off Session Highs
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government



Crowdfunding ....






























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved